The Liberty Fire Company # 4 of Schuylkill Haven starts its history way back in the year 1908. The organization originated in its exact location that it holds today.
The address is recognized as 223 West Columbia Street, but nobody really knows if that was the address in 1908. The station was a single two-story dwelling, the same as the main building today. On the first floor, there was a double swinging garage door in which the apparatus was kept.
However, in those days, a team of horses from the neighboring Faust Garage had to be brought to the firehouse in order for the fire engines to respond to the call.
Sketchy details from the past tell us that there was no room or money for their own horse team. So a kind member who operated a garage loaned the Liberty his team to transport the equipment when duty called.
Due to extensive remodeling, and the time period, the records of the Liberty Fire Company # 4 cannot be found from 1908 to 1916.
In the year 1916, not many logs or records can be obtained except that the fire chief on record was a man named Charles Faust.
In 1916, the president of the organization was Martin Kerschner. A list of names and dates follow this history of presidents and chiefs from 1916 to present. Some highlights should be brought to the attention of the public.
In 82 years of records, the Liberty Fire Company has had a total of 12 presidents. Jacob Moyer ruled in the fire company from 1923 until 1951. A total of 26 years of loyal, faithful and unselfish service! Ironic as it may seem, Jacob Moyer is indeed a legend in Liberty Fire Company history.
The current Liberty President is Aaron Schimpf, who took over for Michael Gossard in 2014, who was president for almost a decade.
Thirteen (13) Chiefs gave orders over the past 67 years, names changed rather often, but some significant time span are noticeable. William Umbenhaurer was Chief from 1935 to 1943; Jacob Moyer from 1944 to 1951. Ebner Reber then took over for 10 years until Glenn (Satty) Sattizahn Sr, honored us with his knowledge as the supreme leader.
In 1963, “Satty” took over as Assistant Chief of the borough, giving his job to Ed Hornacek, who held the title from 1969 to 1982. John Dohner took control in 1982, and numerous names followed over the years including; Steve Schnoke, Bob Peel, Andy Motko, and Rick Kremer. In 2012, Rick Kremer stepped down as Chief after almost 15 years of surmountable dedication. Today, a young Reverend and church Pastor, Dennis Snyder, is Chief. Dennis has put a strong emphasis on the importance of training. The Liberty Fire Company is proud to say on average 150 man-hours of training is completed at the state level every month.
As far as equipment goes for the Liberty Fire Company, they had very “thin clad” years. A report was found dating back to the year of 1918. It stated, After the Chief of the Schuylkill Haven Fire Department completed inspection of the 4 firehouses in town, he founded that the Liberty Fire Company #4 was going to be deemed inoperable at structure fires, because the company only had one “I” nozzle.
Struggles persisted through-out this time, and one October day in 1921, the Liberty Fire Company accepted delivery of a Hahn Chemical Engine, in which they paid $3,250.00, their first motored fire apparatus!
In March 1929, they purchased their 2nd Hahn chemical Wagon for the low cost of $3,775.00. Many stories have been told about these 2 pieces of firefighting memorabilia, including how the chemicals had to be mixed and the consequences if they were not mixed correctly.
It was not until November of 1948, the station purchased their first modern fire apparatus, a 1948 Mack pumper. Although, the price was substantially higher at $15,585.00, the new Mack could not compare to the operability of the chemical wagons. This truck is still in operating condition today and is privately owned by Jeff Jones of Orwigsburg, PA.
Nine years later, the Liberty expanded their firefighting apparatus collection by purchasing another Mack pumper. The “57″ as it is known today, cost the company $18,992.00 and is still in operating condition. The piece is privately owned by Todd Evans of Tremont, PA.
In 1975, the company took delivery of a Dodge/Car-Mar 2000 gallon Tanker-Pumper. This Tanker-Pumper served the borough and surrounding communities from 1975 to 1992. “Tanker 738” also won numerous state championships throughout its legacy at Station 4.
In 1991, the Liberty started looking into purchasing a new tanker to replace the rod tanker-pumper known as “Tanker 738”.
Finally in 1992, the new tanker was purchased from 4 Guys Fire Apparatus, in Meyersdale, PA. The International/4Guys, tanker had a 2000-gallon tank, with a 5 man enclosed cab, and a 750 GPM pump. Tanker 738 is still in service today and responds to nearly 100 calls per year.
The next purchase was a 1980 CF Mack from a man named Larry Taylor in Wysox, PA. The truck was a retired piece from the City of New York and was the former Engine 50 house in the Bronx.
The Mack boasted a 1000 GPM pump with 750-gallon tank, and was able to carry 2000 foot of 5′ large diameter hose. Many individuals came to love this truck, because of its history. This 1980 CF Mack is still the pride and joy of our fire company and serves as a second out attack engine and LDH supply truck.
In 1998, the Liberty Fire Company purchased new 1998 UME/4 Guys, 1250 GPM fire engine with a 750 gallon tank, and enclosed 5 man cab.
This engine carries 1000 foot of 5″ large diameter hose, 1000 foot of 3″ hose, and is known today as “Engine 737″. This Engine may be small compared to the mighty pumpers that are being built today, but it gets the job done when it is called upon. Engine 737 is a smaller engine that really packs a punch on the fire grounds and is used as our primary attack truck.
In early 2001, the Liberty Fire Company purchased a 1994 International Med-Tee Ambulance from the Schuylkill Haven Ambulance Association, and turned it into a squad, known today as “Squad 739”. This Squad carries a 3-bottle cascade system, and is used as a RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) transport vehicle, command post, rehab unit, dive truck, and has many other duties in which it serves.
So, that is about all that the records show of purchases and equipment that the Liberty Fire Company #4 has done throughout the 92 years of being in existence. The members are very proud of the accomplishments they have done over the years, and look forward to many more years to come.